Staatskapelle Dresden to become orchestra for the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Christian Thielemann the festival’s Artistic Director

From 2013 the Staatskapelle Dresden will be the festival orchestra for the Salzburg Easter Festival. The festival’s new Artistic Director will be Christian Thielemann, who from the 2012/2013 season also assumes the post of Principal Conductor to the Staatskapelle Dresden. The operatic productions in Salzburg are to be co-produced by the Semperoper Dresden.

That was the result of a fortnight of negotiations between Christian Thielemann and representatives of the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Semperoper Dresden.

The contract will run for a period of five years, and thus include the festival’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017. Founded in 1967 by Herbert von Karajan, the Easter Festival quickly established itself as one of the world’s most prestigious and exclusive music festivals, which it remains until today.

As in previous years the festival will continue to offer visitors one staged opera and three concert programmes. Each year Thielemann will conduct the Staatskapelle in the opera pit and in two of the three orchestral programmes. For the first year of collaboration in 2013, which coincides with celebrations for Wagner’s 200th birthday, it is already planned to stage a new production of ›Parsifal‹. In addition to opera productions and symphony concerts, Staatskapelle musicians will be involved diverse chamber music projects in Salzburg.

Myung-Whun Chung, who from the 2012/2013 season will be the first Principal Guest Conductor in the history of the Staatskapelle, has agreed to conduct one of the Easter Festival’s concert programmes in 2013.

One innovation will be a so-called ›Concert for Salzburg‹, a new event separate to the two festival cycles, and which is primarily intended to attract local citizens with a standard and greatly reduced ticket price.

The operas will be co-produced by the Semperoper Dresden, and subsequently performed in Dresden’s famous opera house.


Stanislaw Tillich (Minister President of the Free State of Saxony)
»I welcome the new partnership between the Staatskapelle and the Semperoper with the Salzburg Easter Festival, and warmly congratulate the successful chief negotiator.
Christian Thielemann, the designated Principal Conductor of our Staatskapelle, will also hold the position of Artistic Director of the Easter Festival. To me that’s a strong and convincing concept. This collaboration can only serve to enrich our cultural life. A new and wider international audience is taking note of Saxony, and this development only underlines the high standing of both the Staatskapelle and the Semperoper.«

Christian Thielemann
(Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden from 2012)
»To become Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival is both a tremendous privilege and a huge challenge: In only two short weeks the festival presents a staged opera and three different concert programmes. As a concert and opera orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden is, of course, predestined for such a task. And for me there is a personal connection. Back in 1980 and 1981 I was involved in a Festival production of ›Parsifal‹, at that time as an assistant to Herbert von Karajan. Of course, I couldn’t have dreamt that my artistic career would come full circle in such a fantastic way, with a new ›Parsifal‹ in the Wagner anniversary year of 2013.«

Jan Nast (Managing Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden)
»Following Christian Thielemann’s appointment as the future Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle, new opportunities have quickly arisen for the orchestra, thus only confirming the great artistic expectations which this musical collaboration has already awakened. There is no doubt that playing for the Salzburg Easter Festival is one of the most prestigious jobs for any orchestra. And, with its combination of opera and concerts, the festival programme fits perfectly to our artistic profile, while also offering a great challenge that we are delighted to take up. Our future Principal Conductor, Christian Thielemann, will certainly make an ideal Artistic Director to the Festival, a post originally held by Herbert von Karajan.«

Dr. Ulrike Hessler (General Manager of the Semperoper Dresden)
»The Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the oldest and most illustrious orchestras in the world, the Semperoper and Salzburg, long renowned for its distinguished music festivals, are three names all linked to great artistic achievement at the most demanding level. This new artistic collaboration brings an important cultural dimension to the many years of partnership between the two cities. When Christian Thielemann takes up the reins in Dresden, Saxony’s cultural life will be widened to include a new and international podium, from which a vital energy will radiate back onto the city and the region.«